My friend Cassandra tweeted after a few days off of work–Am completely feral, unshowered, overfed, nocturnal and irritable.
Oh boy. Yep, that would be me when left to my own devices. When I lived by myself and worked freelance, it was pretty much my norm.
Getting married helped a little bit. Having a baby didn’t help at first–it made it worse. But now it’s helping a lot. A toddler provides structure with a capital-S. Our schedule is loose and based on many factors, but it’s pretty much run according to his needs.
Everyone wakes up when he wakes up. We have naps at regular intervals. We have an outdoor activity at least once every day. We do not skip meals. This is just the reality of parenting right now.
When it’s not crushing me with the weight of the responsibility, it’s oddly comforting.
I have way less time to be Alone With My Thoughts, which tends to be a good thing for an INFJ like me. I can get lost in my head and lose perspective pretty quickly. Life with a toddler doesn’t really allow this.
Okay, wait–this was going to be a post about lunch! Where was I…?
Ah yes, the overall structure helps me slowly and gently make changes to our eating. Since I can count on a general rhythm to our days, I can take a long view and see where I can make small tweaks over time…
What’s working: Mornings
Our mornings used to be fairly chaotic. And they still are when we get up earlier than we want (side-eye at Z) –but gone are the days when we’d wake up starving and find ourselves at the coffeeshop around the corner eating vegan donuts.
It took a lot of tweaking over months, and I’m sure it will change in the future as our needs change, but right now our smoothie system means I can at least count on several servings of raw greens and fruit going into my body every morning.
Now, I’m looking at the rest of our days, and moments when things tend to fall apart. Specifically…
After breakfast and a midmorning snack I tend to start looking wildly around the kitchen for something to be a suitable lunch. Crackers and hummus are getting old. As is my beloved sunbutter sandwich. Occasionally I have some good leftovers, or heat up some lentil soup. Salads are great in theory, but don’t pass the toddler test.
Ideally we’d have some brilliant tasty legume and grain combination, with veggies of some kind. Made ahead of time so that I can pack some in my husband’s lunch, maybe in a wrap.
I’m looking for something oh-so-simple but delicious. I don’t even want to have to think about it.
I distrust recipes with more than 8 ingredients. I am not a big fan of chopping, although I will do it for something that will last me more than one meal. We’re not huge on variety: we can eat the same thing for a few days in a row. I’d love to have 4-5 recipes that I can rotate. Yum bowls are great, but we can only eat so much of those.
So I have been working my way through this book. It was recommended to me by friends, the parent educator at our co-op preschool, and our family naturopath. Okay, okay! I can take a hint. It’s something of a hippie family guidebook.
I love how simple it is. It is not a vegan cookbook per se, but it has quite a few vegetarian and vegan options, and it breaks down the major food groups in a way that makes sense to me. I also like that it focuses on getting everyone, including babies, to eat the same meal (she includes tweaks and alternates for the littler ones, but everyone gets the same general flavor).
It is really inspiring and walks through a lot of the “basics” with regards to cooking grains and legumes, which I appreciate. I’ve made beans a million times but they never seem to come out as nicely as the ones in a restaurant or prepared meal, so I think I’m doing something wrong. It also talks about sea vegetables and fermented foods–two groups that I have read about and have been meaning to add to our diet, but had no idea where to start.
I’m going to work on a few recipes from it in the next few weeks and see if I can’t find some favorites to eat for lunches. There may be a pressure cooker in my future…
So, hey! Do you have any times of day when Things Fall Apart? Or do you have any phenomenally delicious grain and legume recipes?
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